Six-Month Temporary Building Moratorium

On January 9, 2018, the City Council passed Ordinance No. 2018-02, declaring a temporary six-month moratorium on the acceptance of certain development applications, with specified exclusions (“moratorium”). The moratorium was subsequently amended by Ordinance 2018-03 (January 16, 2018), Ordinance No. 2018-05 (February 15, 2018), and Ordinance No. 2018-09 (March 13, 2018). Pursuant to those ordinances, the moratorium was restated, except with regard to the effective date, duration provisions of the moratorium, and the declaration of emergency that was included in the moratorium ordinances. The moratorium continues to have an effective date of January 9, 2018, and it is currently set to expire on July 9, 2018.

The most recent ordinance amending the moratorium, Ordinance No. 2018-14, was approved by the City Council on April 24, 2018 and takes effect on May 2, 2018.

The development moratorium prohibits:

A. All applications for new short subdivisions (BIMC 2.16.070), new preliminary long subdivisions (BIMC 2.16.125), and new large lot subdivisions (BIMC 2.16.080).

B. Structures, buildings, and land use permits and approvals in the R-1, R-2, and R-0.4 zones within the City’s shoreline jurisdiction areas (see Chapter 16.12 BIMC):

(i) That will result in less than 65% of the subject property being retained as native vegetation; or

(ii) That will result in reducing the native vegetation on the subject property by any amount if that property had native vegetation existing on less than 65% of the property as of the effective date of the moratorium.

(iii) Provided, that this Section B does not apply to complete land use applications (see BIMC Table 2.16.010-1) that were submitted prior to the effective date of the moratorium, and to the resultant site work and associated approvals related to such complete land use applications.

C. Major Site Plan and Design Review and Major Conditional Use Permit proposals that are not otherwise subject to this moratorium and that did not, before the effective date of the moratorium, have a pre-application conference on the Planning Department’s calendar.  Provided, that the moratorium does not apply to Major Site Plan and Design Review and Major Conditional Use Permit proposals for properties located in the Mixed Use Town Center/Central Core Overlay District.

The development moratorium does not apply to:

A. Permits and approvals for affordable housing projects that qualify as Housing Design Demonstration Project (HDDP) Tier 3 projects pursuant to BIMC 2.16.020.Q. and Table 2.16.020.Q-1, and

B. Permits and approvals for government facilities and structures; educational facilities and preschools; wireless communication facilities; and emergency medical and disaster relief facilities.

The moratorium does not apply to building or land use applications that are already vested.

Key concerns expressed by the Council in adopting the moratorium were the Council’s ongoing consideration of the Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO) Update, the urgent need to address affordable housing issues, and analyze design review standards and guidelines and long subdivision review process. Given the significance of the update to those regulations, the Council expressed a need for a temporary “timeout” to allow for additional public outreach in determining how best to protect the Island’s unique environment.

Comments & Questions

Public participation is invited throughout the Moratorium process. Check this page for updated information, timelines, draft documents and meeting notices. You may also join an email listserv to receive timely project notifications:


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Additional Information

For more information on how the moratorium may impact your project, stop by the Planning and Community Development Counter at City Hall, or by email.